A squeeze on primary school places means nearly a third of children in Hammersmith and Fulham will fail to get enrolled at their favoured school – the lowest figure in the country.
Just 69 per cent of 1,463 primary school applicants would end up at their top choice this year, meaning one-in-three will not. Nationally, just one-in-nine are in a similar position.
As of April 20, there were 166 places still available but 249 children had still not been offered any school at all, despite being asked to put down their top six choices on an application form.
The council insists parents 'shouldn't panic' and is promising all will be enrolled by either September or January.
"We have plans in place to cope with demand," insisted a spokeswoman, who added money was available to create extra places if necessary.
The authority blames extra demand for places on a combination of the recession and higher birthrates. Since 2001, the number of newborns has increased steadily every year, with 2,733 arriving in 2008, compared to 2,365 nine years ago.
The downturn has also seen many parents shelve plans to educate their children privately, meaning places are now at a premium, the council said.
Despite this, the authority says it is normal for a number of children to be without a place at this time of year, reasoning a number of children have always tended to drop out a a later date in favour of, for example, an independent school.
But Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet, the parents’ website, said too much pressure was being put on 'good' primary schools.
"The notion of choice in some areas doesn't even exist," she said. "Good primary schools become a question of if you can afford to live in the area. There is too much pressure on the primary schools that are known to be good."
The council said John Betts Primary in Hammersmith had so far proved most popular with parents but said it wants to make all schools in the borough equally attractive.
The spokeswoman said: "We can't necessarily predict where people will apply. State schools have become very popular and you can be a victim of your own success. Our strategy is that we want more places to be popular."
She said the authority already has agreement to invest £1.6m in additional places to ease the pressure and that it plans to plough in a further £5.3m to schools including Holy Cross, Old Oak and St Thomas Primary over the coming year, subject to governors' agreement.
Last year the council invested £300,000 into creating 90 additional places at Brackenbury, St John's Walham Green, St Thomas of Canterbury and Old Oak Schools, she added.